A research proposal by Prof. Shimizu of Tokyo Women’s Medical University in joint with Integriculture Inc. granted for JAXA “Tansa X” Program, to develop cell-based food production systems for space
A research proposal by Prof. Shimizu of Tokyo Women’s Medical University (TWMU) and Integriculture Inc. was granted for “Tansa-X Challenge” program by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Innovation Hub. The research proposal is titled “Sustainable food/protein production by symbiotic recycling culture system combining algae and animal cells”. In this research project, Prof. Shimizu leads the development of elemental technologies for closed-loop bioreactor system for space-based cellular agriculture and cell-based meat production in space.
Multiple countries have space programs toward establishment of space habitat on the Moon and Mars, which would require space workers to stay ever longer time in space. Such missions require space-based on-site food production facilities that operate with minimal input and waste. To date, indoor farm and algae have been investigated, but protein sources and human emotional and socio-cultural dimensions of space food remain underdeveloped.
TWMU and Integriculture Inc. will investigate the following to develop more efficient sources of protein and other nutrients, and space food that better serves the human needs.
1). Improvement in cell culture efficiency by algae and animal cell coculture system
2). Cell coculture protocols for micro and zero gravity
The project’s outcome would also provide a potential solution to the impending “protein crisis” on Earth. The cell-based meat technology may address the global $2 trillion land-based animal and seafood protein market. This may also improve future food security situations of many countries.
■JAXA Innovation Hub
JAXA Innovation Hub, under Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, will gather knowledge and specialists from various fields and create a new research team for their activities. The center is located on the JAXA Sagamihara Campus.
■TansaX Challenge program
Within the research proposals submitted for Tansa X, distinctively novel and challenging research proposals with high potential impact in space exploration and industry on the ground are awarded as “Tansa X Challenge”.
Cellular agriculture is an interdisciplinary branch of science at the intersection of medicine and farming. Cellular agriculture capitalizes on breakthroughs in tissue-engineering, material sciences, bioengineering, and synthetic biology to design new ways of producing common agricultural products. Clean meat production by cell culture is one of the applications of cellular agriculture.
Integriculture Inc. develops low-cost large scale cell culture system that enables industrial cellular agriculture such as cell-based meat production. Cell-based meat production used to cost more than $100,000/kg in 2013. Integriculture Inc. is combining food grade basal medium and patented general-purpose large-scale cell culture system, “CulNet™ System” to drive down the cost of cell culture to ~$300/kg and lower.
■Food grade culture medium
Integriculture Inc. has developed food grade basal medium (FG-medium) by replacing all ingredients with food and registered food additives. FG-medium plays a key part in making cultured cell products affordable and suitable for consumption.
■Integriculture’s patented networked coculture system (“CulNet™ System”)
By culturing target cells with growth factor source cells in connected bioreactors, “CulNet System” utilizes food grade culture medium to efficiently produce cell-based meat. Unlike conventional disposable batch systems, a “CulNet System” grows cells through continuous flow process, enabling the system to expanded by simple parallelization as well as increasing its volume.
Integriculture Inc.（Attn: Yuki Hanyu）